Why Do I Have So Many Litters?

Firstly, I would like to start off by saying that the amount of litters you have does NOT determine your worth as a breeder of any kind. There is no “rule book” stating how many litters is acceptable. There is only individuals who think themselves high and mighty, and who wish to control others due to their own twisted ideas of whats “right”

I have many lines. 12, infact. The reason I have so many lines is because I am the “Genetics Bank” for United Rodent Community Of South Africa (URCSA) as well as South African Rat Fancy Association (SAFRA). I am currently the ONLY breeder in URCSA with certain genes. These genes cannot be recovered once lost, due to the actions of certain other groups and individuals in the country. The only way to recover them if lost, is to import, which costs anywhere upwards of R30 000.

So what does this mean? This means that, assuming I breed every 6 months per line, I am having a minimum of 2 litters per line per year. That is on a MINIMUM basis, assuming I am not holding back more than 1 doe per line per litter. With 12 lines, that is 24 litters minimum per year.

Am I doing this for shits and giggles? No. I am doing this to preserve and improve the fancy. Many of the lines I am working with have serious temperament issues and many have fertility issues. This is by no fault of my own. I am trying to fix it. This means breeding the best of the worst, and moving forward with each generation.

Well then, how do you have the space for all of these rats? I own 2 savics, an aviary converted to a rat cage, and another large cage. This means the total number of ADULT rats I can keep in my rattery at any given time is around 120. This excludes litters. I can house anywhere from 1-10 litters at any given time, as I have 10 maternity bins/cages of appropriate size.

Does this mean I have 120 rats at all times, and 10 litters at all times? No. I actually currently own 30 rats (15 of each gender) and have 8 litters. How do I have so few rats with so few lines? Well, remember up above, I stated how some lines have severe temperament issues? Yes. Well, those rats are not kept. They are humanely euthanised and donated to either a reptile venom research centre (ie, it can save your life and the lives of others) or to a owl and raptor rescue centre. An aggressive or skittish rat is NOT a happy rat. Not only is that rat living in permanent fear, it also upsets the entire dynamic within the rattery. I have personally seen on multiple occassions how a mischief has turned from being tumultuous to absolute serenity upon the removal of a “bad apple”

Each of my litters gets treated the exact same way. Each of my mamas is treated the exact same way. Everyone gets the same level of care, love and devotion. I spend every evening spot cleaning. I take a full day on weekends to clean cages. I take a weekend a month to pull cages apart and scrub between the bars. Which is more than I can say for some breeders who only have 2-4 litters a year.

I urge you to not judge people by HOW MUCH they breed, but rather HOW WELL they breed. It makes no difference if you are breeding 4 litters a year, but still producing rats that have maternal aggression, and who’s offspring murder other rats.

Do not be fooled by people making high and mighty statements. Rather talk, human to human, to a breeder, to ask them why they do what they do. Ask them why they have so many litters. Ask them why they have so many rats. Don’t let others make your mind up for you.

SA Fancy Rat Association SAFRA URC – United Rodent Community

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